1 February 2017

Martin Donnelly - Property Manager

Martin Donnelly heads up the Property Management team at Ray White Damerell Group


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He is a six-time winner of the prestigious Property Manager of the Year Award, so there is very little he doesn’t know about looking after investment properties and getting the best return for his clients.

What does it take to be a good property manager?

“I put it down to having well organised systems and processes in place, so that my portfolio of properties runs like a well-oiled machine. Focussing on good communication with landlords and tenants is a big part of being successful; that and complete transparency in all transactions.”

What is it that you like about being a property manager?

“I love dealing with people, and have a genuine passion for property. I get great satisfaction in matching the right tenant with a property they adore, then seeing the result.”

A rental property is a huge asset. How do you ensure that your client’s investment is well protected from damage or neglect and, at the same time, is giving them a good return?

“An investment property can mean many things to many people. It can be an income, a retirement fund, or even an inheritance for children or grandchildren. To ensure that my clients’ assets are kept as safe as possible, we have put in place a strict set of protocols. We conduct thorough property inspections every three months, to ensure everything is as it should be, and to look for any signs of damage or neglect. Everything is documented and photographed.

“But it all starts before that, with our tenant selection process. As well as marketing the property locally via our own website, plus a couple of popular third-party websites, we have a large database of around 3000-4000 potential tenants that we send our new listings to, twice a week. This ensures that every property we take on is marketed to a huge pool of qualified tenants at any one time.”

If something does go wrong, whether it be accidental or neglect, how do you deal with it?

“Repairs and maintenance is a very important part of property management. At Ray White Damerell Group we have a host of tradies that we trust and have used for many years. One phone call, one text, or one email, and we will usually have someone around within 30 minutes.

“If the issue is something more serious, regarding a tenant’s behaviour, for example, then our first approach would be to contact the tenant as soon as possible and arrange a face-to-face meeting to address the issue. It’s very important to keep direct lines of communication open in these instances. Nine times out of ten, this is the most effective approach. We do have the option of issuing a ‘breach letter’, however, but this is only used if resolution cannot be found through verbal negotiation.”

A growing concern with investors is the proliferation of methamphetamine and the effect it has on the value of a property, if contaminated. How is Ray White Ponsonby addressing the P problem in the rental market?

“It is a problem, you’re right, and I am keeping my property team and the greater team of agents at Ray White Ponsonby abreast of all developments and recommendations, as far as action and legislation, so that we can offer a proactive, rather than reactive approach to our clients.” 

When it comes time to put the rent up, how do you approach a tenant?

“The subject of rent rise is a delicate one. We review the rent of all of our properties twice a year. We’ve found that most tenants are happy to stay in properties if their rent rises are small and regular. Again, it’s all about being proactive and inclusive, by engaging with the tenant and letting them know in advance that there is going to be a rent rise.”

Finally, a question many people will ask is, can I afford to have my property professionally managed? How would you respond to that?

“I’d say, can you afford not to? Do you know how to effectively and actively market your property and get the best rent for it? Are you, as a private landlord, familiar with the legal workings of the Residential Tenancy Act? And, what price do you put on your own time?”

“With us on board, you won’t have to think about answering any of these questions. We will do it all for you. We know how to maximise your income and ensure vacancy rates are as low as possible. We have measures in place to protect your investment from damage and neglect, and we are fully versed with tenants and landlords rights when it comes to the law.”

If you would like to receive a copy of our Landlord Information Guide which explains our property management services and your requirements as a landlord please click here

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